Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority bans packaging of alcoholic drinks in plastic bottles

RWANDA – Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has prohibited the packaging of alcoholic drinks in plastic bottles as they pose a threat to both consumers health and the environment.

The directive, according to New Times Rwanda was issued on November 18, 2020, and signed by Dr. Charles Karangwa, Ag. Director-General of Rwanda FDA.

Rwanda FDA has highlighted that packaging alcoholic drinks in plastic bottles leads to adulteration as some of those packages are made of chemicals which get re-activated and dissolved in the drink following prolonged exposure to heat and contact with alcohols, thus posing a health risk to consumers.

“We should not package alcoholic drinks in plastic bottles if that has been proven to be harmful to consumers’ health. However, there should be affordable alternatives.”

Marketing Manager Inyamamare Ltd – Jean de Dieu Bizimana

Alcoholic drink makers in the country have accepted the move but have called for the establishment of a local glass packaging factory to ensure regular and affordable supply of the packaging materials in the country.

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Some of the manufacturers in the country had already made the shift prior to the directive but lament that imported glass bottles are too costly, resulting in high production costs which at times are transferred to the end consumer making the products expensive. Overall, it hinders the growth of the sector.

“We should not package alcoholic drinks in plastic bottles if that has been proven to be harmful to consumers’ health. However, there should be affordable alternatives.

“We need a factory making glass bottles at an affordable price in the country,” said Jean de Dieu Bizimana, marketing manager at Inyamamare Ltd, a banana beer making company.

In order to ensure the quality and safety of alcoholic drinks on the Rwandan market, Rwanda FDA has advised all the distributors to stop receiving and distributing or selling alcoholic drinks packaged in plastic bottles and to report manufacturers who use the banned bottles.

The ban in Rwanda comes months after Nigeria through the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) announced they are planning to completely phase out production of alcoholic drinks in sachets by 2023/2024.

The move has been triggered by rising concerns relate to negative effects of irresponsible alcohol consumption on public health.

In addition, it poses threat to the safety and security of the public and leads to high rate of alcohol dependency in addition to having toxic and psychoactive substance.

This, according to Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye has been contributed by the uncontrolled access and availability of high concentration alcohol in sachet and small volume Poly-Ethylene Terephthalate (PET) or glass bottles.

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